Top Tips for Successful Exhibitions

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Debbie Frith (pictured) is The Passionate PA for Poole and North Dorset. As well as working for some of the county’s most interesting businesses, such as Quad Vision, Shrinkwrap Machinery, Hamworthy Heating and Aspire Jobs, Debbie is also a voice of experience with Event Management. She is the Event Manager for Dorset Business Angels and regularly takes on project work in this field – the most recent being the North Dorset Expo which was a huge success.

In this article, Debbie shares her ‘quick fire’ top tips to ensure you and your team can make the most of exhibiting at a business event. Business Exhibitions (or Expos) are a great way to meet new business contacts and demonstrate what you offer. But, without a strategic plan, they can cost you a lot of money, resource and time.

  1. Get involved beforehand on social media!
    Every good exhibition will have a presence across social media – find them and follow, like, share AND POST. Tell the world you’ll be there, what you have to offer and what the benefits of attending the overall expo are. Do not complain about visitor numbers if you have done nothing to help promote the event and create a positive vibe.
  2. Set clear success markers
    Be clear with yourself and your team what a successful business expo looks like – what do you want from the event, what return do you need for your investment? This can be as simple as:
  • make one sale
  • have 5 superb conversations with genuine leads
  • get 100 business cards in the Prosecco Bucket*
  • use the event hype to launch a new product or service.

Whatever is key for your business; define it, share it with your team and measure it.

  1. Research is key
    Give yourself time to plan your stand structure and content; are you having a set of banners, what literature are you taking, what are you going to give away and how do you plan to engage people? Research the show’s target audiences so you know who to expect and create an experience they will enjoy and remember.
  2. Promote to your own network and clients
    Personally invite your business network to the event via social media and your own mailing list – let them know you’re going to be there and why, try to organise a couple of 1:1s or client meetings so that your own day has some structure and purpose.
  3. Team spirit relieves the pressure
    Get your team involved – have allocated time slots where people man the stand whilst others visit the seminars, take comfort breaks or grab a bite to eat. Share the experience with the team to create engagement at every level of your business.
  4. Engage, smile, body language
    You don’t have to be Head of Sales to man an exhibition stand. You do however need to stand all day, be smiley and approachable, and very capable of starting a conversation with strangers! It also helps to know what you’re selling and who the target audience are. Move out from behind the table and engage the visitors.
  5. Fellow Exhibitors
    Oh, these are the best! Create a comradery, have fun together. Get to know their businesses and engage with them on and off line before the expo, throughout the day, and beyond. Talk to EVERYONE, at every opportunity – coffee station, toilets, lunch queue, car park… the whole day is an opportunity to meet people that would never usually walk past your desk in the office.
  6. Ask the organiser
    Generally, they are helpful, connected, organised people that want you to succeed and have a super event. If you are unsure of what to do or how to do it, talk to them and ask for guidance.
  7. Be memorable!
    For your product or service, for your stand, for your social media presence, for your character, for your smile – be memorable for everything. Think beyond the obvious and make the most of a whole day. There are some spectacular companies across Dorset that can help you with memorable giveaways!
  8. Follow up immediately – definitely within 24 hours.
    And don’t leave it there… make a Touch Point Engagement Plan for re-connecting with the people you meet; the week later, the month later and the year later. Keep the conversation going.

*Giving away Prosecco is boring and has been done a thousand times; get creative! Give away something you’ll be remembered for or that visitors really value.

To find out more about how Debbie or any of The Passionate PAs could help you and your business please call 03 3000 20 200.